The Blue Jays got back into the ALCS by winning a Game 3 shootout, and it could again be a high scoring affair in Game 4 with R.A. Dickey facing Chris Young of the Royals.
We now have a series in this ALCS with the series favorites getting a big win in a shootout of a Game 3 at home to avoid an 0-3 hole, and it could be another relatively high scoring game on Tuesday when Chris Young and the Kansas City Royals pay a visit to fellow righty R. A. Dickey and those Toronto Blue Jays for Game 3 from Rogers Centre in Toronto, ON Canada at 4:05 ET in a game televised nationally on FOX Sports 1. Kansas City leads the best-of-seven series 2-1.
The posted total at Pinnacle Sports is 9 for this contest with the current odds on the ‘over’ set at a positive +109.
The Hits Just Kept on Coming
In retrospect, we seem foolish for backing the ‘under’ in Game 3 on Monday as Royals’ hurler Johnny Cueto reverted to his terrible regular season form after being acquired from Cincinnati and a Toronto team that had the best offense in baseball during the regular season awoke after being shut down in the first two games of this series, pounding out 11 runs on 11 hits.
However, the final score of that contest was 11-8, so it was not as if the Kansas City offense did not do its part despite the Royals being the losing MLB picks to see their series lead sliced to 2-1, as they actually out-hit the Blue Jays pounding out 15 hits, will 11 of those hits coming off of Toronto starter Marcus Stroman over 6.1 innings after he had pitched so well in his two starts during the ALDS vs. the Texas Rangers.
Does Dickey Feel Disrespected?
The last time R.A. Dickey was on the mound for the Blue Jays, he was lifted after 4.2 innings, thus depriving him of getting a win, despite holding a 7-1 lead and allowing that one run on five hits in Game 4 of the ALDS vs. Texas! Dickey could not have been very happy with Manager John Gibbons following that game and he no doubt has been stewing inside ever since.
So how will he now respond in his next start eight days later? Will he in back of his mind believe that he practically needs to be perfect to avoid another quick hook after allowing a hit in a game where a loss would put Toronto on the brink of elimination? And it is not as if Dickey was lights-out this season to begin with, going just 11-11 with a 3.91 ERA during the regular season.
Furthermore, Dickey’s strikeout rate has been going down steadily since his Cy Young Award season with the New York Mets in 2012, to the point where he fanned a miniscule 5.29 batters per nine innings this season vs. 2.56 walks per nine, leading to some weak peripherals with a 4.48 FIP and 4.72 xFIP. That is bad news vs. a Kansas City offense batting .280 and averaging a whopping 6.44 runs per game vs. right-handed pitchers the last 10 games!
Far Outperformed Peripheral Numbers
Speaking of weak peripherals, perhaps no pitcher in baseball outperformed his sabremetric numbers by as much as Young did, and that could be a reason why he has not made a start during the playoffs until the Royals needed a fourth starter in this game, with his only post-season experience this year coming with four relief innings back in Game 1 of the ALDS in a 5-2 loss to the Houston Astros.
On the surface, it would appear that Young had a very nice season going 11-6 with a 3.04 ERA and 1.09 WHIP. However, he did that with a weak command ratio of 6.06 strikeouts vs. 3.14 walks per nine innings, and despite having a fastball that would have trouble breaking a plane of glass averaging just 86.6 MPH this season he somehow got away with yielding an unbelievably low BABIP of .209!
Moreover, most of the contact he allowed was in the air as Young also had one of the very lowest groundball rates among Major League starters at 25.5 percent. He can only get away with getting batters out with smoke and mirrors for so long, and it is scary to think what the Toronto offense can do against him with all that contact in the air.
Trending the ‘over’
Finally, the ‘over’ is 21-8-3 in the Blue Jays’ last 32 games following a win and 3-0-1 in Dickey’s last four starts overall.. The ‘over’ is also 20-8-3 in the Royals’ last 31 games vs. the American League East and 9-3 in their last 12 after allowing five runs or more in their previous game.
While these two teams may not light up the scoreboard quite as much as they did last night, we still foresee a final combined run output in the double-digits so go ‘over’ again when Kansas City visits Toronto north of the border for Game 4 of the ALCS on Tuesday.
MLB Pick: Royals, Blue Jays ‘over’ 9 (+109)